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Judge rejects council bid to block West London hospital downgrades

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Ealing LBC’s attempt to block plans to downgrade four local hospitals has been dealt a major blow after a High Court judge rejected its application for a judicial review.

Health reporting HSJ and LGC logo

The council revealed its application had been turned down in a statement published on its website - a decision welcomed by the NHS trusts involved in the reconfiguration.

It said it was now seeking an oral hearing at the High Court in a bid to secure a full judicial review.  

The council filed the original application in a bid to block the downgrading of Ealing, Charing Cross, Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals in April.

The planned closures are part of the Shaping a Healthier Future reconfiguration, the largest ever NHS hospital reorganisation approved by NHS North West London in February.

Health chiefs say the move will save lives and lead to better services for patients.

Ealing Council leader Julian Bell, said the news “hit us like a body blow, but we are determined to fight on”.

He added: “The NHS want to treat the people of Ealing as guinea pigs in the largest experiment in its history and we believe it is only right that our very serious concerns get proper consideration.

“If you plot emergency hospital services on a map of north west London, it is very apparent that there is a gaping hole of provision over Ealing.”

The final decision on the reorganisation will be taken by health secretary Jeremy Hunt after he receives a report from an independent panel next month.

A spokeswoman speaking on behalf of the NHS partners involved in the Shaping a Healthier Future programme said reconfiguration would lead to improved services and that the partners were “pleased with this sensible outcome”.

She added in a statement: “We have always been confident of the robustness of the work we have done and continue to believe that our plans, as developed by clinicians, are in the best interests of patients. We will continue to work with local people, councillors and others to deliver the best heath care possible.

“Centralising acute services isn’t a new idea and these proposals are about improving healthcare for residents across north west London. At the moment, although some care is exceptionally good, much of it is only adequate. If we do nothing, the services will not improve, and budgets will be unable to cope. This isn’t ok and residents deserve better.”

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